Why Do We Get Hiccups? Know Causes From An Expert

Here is everything that you need to know about hippus from the process that takes place behind it to the reason behind this bodily response.

Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaUpdated at: Sep 30, 2021 10:41 IST
Why Do We Get Hiccups? Know Causes From An Expert

What was the last time you got those continuous hiccups that wouldn’t go no matter what you do? Hiccups can be really annoying at times and can be really funny when they bother you in between your sentences. Although we all have had them, have you ever thought about what causes these strange little sounds to escape from your mouth? Well if your answer is a no and you are as curious as we are to know about the real reason behind this strange little sound that comes without any warning signs, let us take a deep dive into this article and learn about the real cause behind these hiccups with Ms. Seema Singh, Chief Council Nutritionist, Fortis Healthcare, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

What are Hiccups?


Image Credits-Times Of India

Also Read: Want To Get Rid Of Hiccups? Try These 10 Effective Home Remedies

Before getting to know the reason and cause behind this bodily response it is important to know what these hiccups actually are. A hiccup is a reflex that happens due to a sudden contraction of the diaphragm. This contraction  makes your chest and abdominal muscles shake. Due to this muscle shake the upper part of your throat (near the vocal cords) closes. This process creates a noise of air which has been expelled from the lungs. This sound accompanied by expelling air from your lungs through the mouth is known as a hiccup.

These hiccups can be classified into transient hiccups, persistent hiccups and recurrent hiccups depending on their duration.

What causes hiccups?

A sudden sound expelled from the lungs via mouth which creates a small hic sound can be caused due to various reasons. Some of these reasons can be physical and the others can be emotional but the true reason is that the irritation happens in the nerve that connects the diaphragm to the brain. Here’s what Ms. Seema Singh has to say about this- 

“There can be various reasons behind these hiccups, they can be caused if you are drinking or eating your food too fast or due to consuming too much of food. If the diaphragm is not being controlled from the nervous system well then it might cause hiccups. Sometimes hiccups can occur due to the feeling of nervousness. There are some medications that can also be responsible for the occurrence of hiccups  in a person. Not just this but hiccups can be commonly observed in a person who has been going through some kind of breathing problem.”


Image Credits- Yohoo

Some of the common causes of hiccups are-

  • Eating too much
  • Sudden change in temperature
  • Swallowing air
  • Feeling excited or nervous
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated beverages

Other than this the factors that result in hiccups are-

#1. Eating too quickly

eating hurriedly

Image Credits- Medical news today

Also Read: What Is The Difference Between Anorexia And Bulimia? States The Expert

Eating in a hurry or eating more than your actual capacity can be a reason behind getting those non-stop hiccups. As our diaphragm is positioned just above the stomach, it gets irritated due to a sudden hurried consumption of food. This irritation causes the diaphragm to contract the way it does while breathing. Not just eating in a hurry but there are some other issues related to the your eating habits that can also trigger hiccups such as-

  • Alternating between hot and cold food
  • Consuming alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Drinking soda drinks
  • Gulping air while eating

#2. Disorder in the Central Nervous System

Well your digestive tract is not the only one which can give rise to these hiccups. These hiccups can also be caused by a disorder in your central nervous system. As a nerve from your brain is connected directly to the diaphragm, it causes a nervous system disorder to result in these hiccups. The nervous system disorders that result into hiccups are- 

  • Tumor
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Head trauma

#3. Thoracic disorders


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Your lungs have an important role to play when it comes to hiccups. As the air which is passed through  your mouth during a hiccups is expelled through the lungs. Where thoracic disorders are conditions which affect your lungs, heart and chest walls. The thoracic disorders that cause hiccups are-

  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Emphysema

#4. Gastrointestinal Disorders

A disorder caused in one of the organs in the series of organs of the gastrointestinal tract, starting off from the mouth all the way to the anus can also cause hiccups. As our stomach is an integral part of the gastrointestinal tract and is placed right right below the diaphragm. Due to this positioning, a disorder in the gastrointestinal tract can cause irritation in the diaphragm and result in hiccups. The gastrointestinal tract disorders that results in hiccups are-

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Issues in gallbladder
  • Gastritis
  • Hepatitis
  • Pancreatitis

#5. Cardiovascular disorder

heart attack

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Also Read: 5 Smart Food Swaps For Healthy Heart

With our heart being one of the most integral parts of our body and cardiovascular diseases being one of the leading causes of death. Where it is crucial to keep your heart health in check, it is also important to know that some cardiovascular diseases can also be a reason behind hiccups. The heart diseases that cause hiccups are-

  • Pericarditis
  • Heart Attack
  • Myocardial infarction

Although hiccups can be irritating and uncomfortable at times but in most of the cases they are truly harmless and a bodily response to our lifestyle habits. This bodily response can also be a signal to some underlying condition. If your hiccups do not stop within 48 hours then make sure that you seek medical advice from your doctor.

With inputs from Ms. Seema Singh, Chief Council Nutritionist, Fortis Healthcare, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 

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